Durnin calls for player passion

Share this article

John Durnin has urged Pompey's players to recreate the spirit of 1998 and do the fans proud.

The Blues are destined for relegation should they be put into administration tomorrow.

An automatic nine-point deduction will effectively end their seven-season stay in the Premier League.

The situation echoes the 1998/99 campaign, the last time Pompey entered administration.

Durnin, affectionately nicknamed Johnny Lager, was one of the stars of Alan Ball's side which shrugged off chronic off-the-field problems to stay up with two games to spare.

On that occasion the squad bonded in the face of adversity, even giving up their win bonuses and washing their own jockstraps to help the situation.

Almost six months later they finally came out of administration in May 1999, when Milan Mandaric stepped in.

Now Durnin has called on the current crop of Blues players under Avram Grant, below, to produce that fighting togetherness to ensure the season doesn't peter out.

He said: 'Back then the situation worked in our favour and we still got the results on the pitch.

'We want to prove to people we could play, we used it to work to our advantage.

'They were dreadful times but it was brilliant all the same for us players. We really bonded and that team spirit went a long way.

'It shouldn't affect these current players either. They are going to get paid, they are hardly going to struggle putting bread and milk on the table.

'What can you do? You have got to go on, it's your job. If you don't work nothing gets done.

'Let's face it, until someone cuts your legs off you keep on walking, don't ever, ever give up.

'Pompey fans are some of the best in the Premier League and they want everyone to fight for their team.

'As a player, you also don't want any bad eggs. If anyone is sulking push them out of the pack.

'If you are not with us, you are out, that was our approach and that's what the players should be doing now.

'Give your all – or get out.'

Durnin made 26 appearances and netted seven goals as Pompey stayed up

that season on goal difference.

The likes of Andy Awford, Alan McLoughlin, Steve Claridge, Alan Knight, Sammy Igoe and Jeff Peron were also mainstays.

It proved to be Durnin's final full season at Fratton Park.

And he still remembers it well.

He added: 'Believe it or not, it was fun because you didn't know what was going to happen next.

'It was very refreshing.

'We had to wash our own jockstraps. You just stuck it in the bag and went home.

'It was no big deal, put it into the washing machine and it's job done.

'These big-time charlies nowadays, it's practically ironed for them.

'It didn't affect us and I am sure it will also not affect them in this day and age.

'We just all dug in and they've got to do the same.'

Never miss a Portsmouth FC story... Get them sent straight to your e-mail inbox.... click here to subscribe.